Manchester United drew 2-2 with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day. It was a good result for Liverpool, which could see them break away in the bid to retain the Premier League crown. Marcus Rashford opened the scoring in the 23rd minute of the match, assisted by Bruno Fernandes. He should have scored in the second minute too. Leicester equalised in the 31st minute through Harvey Barnes. Fernandes scored what should have been the winner in the 79th minute, assisted by Edinson Cavani but Jamie Vardy equalised for Leicester for the second time in the match to make it a point for each side.
United started well against Leicester, carving an opportunity in the second minute of the match which saw Marcus Rashford missed from close-ranger after Bruno Fernandes dinked in a cross from the left with the England forward having a free header from six-yards out, right towards the centre of the goal but his effort sailed over the crossbar. Leicester then got back into the match with Youri Tielemans creating something but Harvey Barnes could not take the advantage. Jamie Vardy then made a clear run through, dragging his shot wide of the target, but he was flagged for offside.
In the 23rd minute of the match, United opened the scoring through Rashford, who made no mistake of this effort. Daniel James did well to bring the ball up after a throw-in, passing the ball to Fernandes, which was not as direct as it should have been, but he stretched and gained possession. The Portuguese magnifico then played the ball into Rashford at the far post with the England forward scoring his 13th goal of the season. The lead did not last all that long with Barnes equalising in the 31st minute of the match after a Marc Albrighton cross was not dealt with with Harry Maguire, shoving the ball to Fernandes which led to the error.
It was still level at the end of the first half with United having five shots on goal, two of those on target, which was exactly the same for Leicester with the home side having 55.9% possession. At the start of the second half, there were no changes but there will be some in this half with both sides looking to secure all three points. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 54th minute of the match with Paul Pogba replacing James. Leicester also won a free-kick after Eric Bailly handled the ball, which was strange as he was directing a teammate. James Maddison took the free-kick but got no advantage from it al all for Leicester.
Anthony Martial looked to have put United ahead in the 61st minute, breaking though the backline and beatinc Kasper Schmeichel at close-range. However, the flag was raised as soon as the goal was scored and VAR seconded that by ruling out the goal. This was merely a warning for Leicester, who would need to up their game to keep United at bay. Solskjaer made his second substitution, bringing on Axel Tuanzebe in the 66th minute after Victor Lindelof seemed to be struggling with his back. In the 70th minute, from a free-kick, Maguire had a chance to put United ahead, missing the opportunity.
Solskjaer made his third substitution in the 75th minute of the match with Edinson Cavani replacing Anthony Martial. It took four minutes for United to restore their lead with Fernandes scoring his 14th goal of the season, assisted by Cavani putting United 2-1 ahead with 11 minutes plus added time left to play. Jamie Vardy got another equaliser for Leicester in the 85th minute of the match, which seemed to be a slight deflection by Tuanzebe with the goal down to Vardy’s movement. It was another unfortunate goal to concede by United, who will have to get back to the drawing board in that search for a winner, which never came.
Goals: Harvey Barnes 31′, Axel Tuanzebe o/g 85′; Marcus Rashford 23′, Bruno Fernandes 79′
Assists: James Maddison 31′; Bruno Fernandes 23′, Edinson Cavani 79′
Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof (Tuanzebe 66′), Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; James (Pogba 54′), Fernandes, Rashford; Martial (Cavani 75′)
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Telles; Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek; Greenwood
Bookings: James Maddison 54′, Wilfred Ndidi 89′; Bruno Fernandes 45+1′
Written by John Walker